With the technology changing at a rapid pace, the old alignment between educational qualifications and economic credentials, opportunities and careers are being called to question. Individuals are torn between the requirements of the degree they don’t have and on the job training that they can’t get. And the employers are questioning that there are jobs yet not enough skills.
With the recruitment and training costs increasing and the retention rates declining, organisations have to come up with out-of-the-box ideas to manage talent.
India is emerging as a business hub and has the potential to become the next biggest business destination. India is the ‘youngest’ nation on the planet which is flush with a demography that’s ready to enter the workforce. But how industry-ready are they? There’s a wide bridge between the skills of what the industry demands and what the youth possess. This is a big barrier for a country that’s walking on the path of development.
Why has the bridge been drawn?
India, since historic times, was known for its manufacturing infrastructure and skilled labour, but times have changed and we now have a pre-dominant services economy.
Challenges for India’s youth
Though the nation has been promised that by 2022, there would be skilled labour of 500 million people in the nation, and apprenticeship will be the key to employability to the youth, it still is a far fetched dream.
Countries such as Japan and Germany have a fraction of India’s population but they have 10 million and 3 million apprentices respectively. In India, there are only 0.4 million apprentices, which amounts to be just 0.1% of the employed workforce. To bridge this gap a significant amount of change is required. From changes in laws and policy of Apprentices Act 1961 to changes in the mindset of people.
Some challenges include the small size of this ecosystem, lack of correlation between employers and apprentices, outdated techniques and curriculum, uneven participation of the socio-economic group, inactive participation of the graduates and rigid learning policies. Presently, 2.8 lakh apprentices are being trained per year against 4.9 lakh seats in central and state-sector establishments. These numbers are just a fraction for a workforce which is now growing by 12 million a year with hardly any employable skills.
For the first time ever, comprehensive reforms are being made to The Apprenticeship Act 1961, the current government has come with two major schemes Skill India and Make in India, one will ensure to enhance the skills of the youth whereas the other ensures that India emerges as a manufacturing hub. A complete faith of the industry has been reposed to take over apprenticeship processes.
These reforms have seen a leap from over 11,000 establishments registrations to over 48,000 in 2018. The Indian government aims to promote at least one million apprenticeships by the end of this year, by collaborating with the Indian industry to further grow this to its actual potential within the country. Many industries are slowly but steadily realising the potential of this new system and how the engagement of young minds will help them lock in talent for the future.
In addition to the progressive reforms, the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) was launched in August 2016. Under this scheme, the government of India provides fiscal benefits to organisations who engage in apprentices and training. The scheme has two components. The first is to provide an incentive in the form of cost-sharing of basic training for up to the limit of Rs 7,500 for 3 months or 500 hours and the second one is sharing 25% of the prescribed stipend for each apprentice, for up to the amount of up to the limit of Rs 1,500 per month. Furthermore, most of the short term training is being increasingly aligned with apprenticeships, forming the natural pathway of employment after completion of training.
India has shifted from regulatory regime to that of self-regulation by industry, where they can not only set the target for apprentices that they require but also decide their curriculum, duration, assessment, and certification. This is a great opportunity that the industry should leverage for its own competitiveness and for the benefit of young India.